June 9, 2004

Has the Riemann Hypothesis been solved?

A Purdue University mathematician who goes by the name de Branges claims that he's proven the Riemann hypothesis.

The Riemann hypothesis, first formulated by Bernhard Riemann in 1859, is a highly complex theory about the nature of prime numbers - those numbers divisible only by 1 and themselves. More technically, it's a conjecture about the distribution of the zeros of Riemann's zeta function ΞΆ(s). It's considered to be one of the most important open problems of contemporary mathematics; a $1,000,000 prize has been offered by the Clay Mathematics Institute for a proof.

De Branges has posted a 23-page paper detailing his attempt at a proof on his university Webpage. Called, "Apology For The Proof of the Riemann Hypothesis," it's actually an interesting read, even for those of us who are mathematically hopeless.



The answer George is no, De Branges has not solved the Riemann Hypothesis. You should read this recent fascinating popular science book which details the efforts of De Branges and other mathematicians:

'Dr Riemann's Zeros' (Karl Sabbagh)

Also see one of my websites for a good hotlist related to the "Riemann Hypothesis":


It's a fascinating mystery. The secret to prime numbers is written into the deep structure of reality.

George said...

Interesting, thanks for that note, Marc. I'll take a look at the book you referrence.